Meet Our Team
Eric and Julie Von Barnau Sythoff, President and Office Manager
Location: Lakewood, WA
Eric serves as the founder and president of the Passion Center, his wife, Julie is our office manager. Eric and Julie have been married for 38 years, and have been blessed with 7 children and 5 grandchildren. They committed their lives to Christ while serving in the military, and since then the Lord has allowed them to faithfully serve Him as missionaries and church planters on three continents! Their hearts’ desire is to continue to be used of God to bring Him glory and to expand His Kingdom.
Gabriel Valencia, Vice Chairman
Location: Angelus Oaks, CA
Gabriel lives and serves at Mile High Pines Christian Camp in the San Bernardino National Forest in Angelus Oaks, CA. He got involved with the Passion Center through a mutual friend of Eric Sythoff four years ago, and has been going to Malawi ever since. He loves getting to be apart of watching God rescue and redeem orphans, and seeing firsthand the process of restoring of children and their communities. He strongly believes that it is important to be involved in missions both locally and internationally. He challenges those reading saying this, “If you are looking to eternally invest beyond your borders and want to do more than change your perspective but rather change your life, pray, support, and go to the Passion Center. You will never be the same!”
Marc Magana, Communications Director
Location: Fontana, CA
Marc has been involved with the Passion Center since 2013. He connected to the organization through Crest Community Church in Riverside, CA. His favorite part of working with the Passion Center is the ability to be hands on and involved in the work that is happening there in Malawi. He loves meeting the kids, hugging them, and speaking to them about the gospel!
Kelly Hagelberg, Communications Team
Location: Chino Hills, CA
Kelly has been involved with the Passion Center since 2013. She found out about the Passion Center through her church, Rock of the Foothills in La Verne, CA. She enjoys staying connected with what the Lord is doing across the world, specifically in Malawi. Her favorite part of working with the Passion Center is getting to see the Passion kids who have grown up through the program become strong men and women of God that are determined to make a difference in their communities.
Kristin Sommerville, Communications Team
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Kristin has been involved with the Passion Center since 2014. She found out about the Passion Center when a friend who visited Malawi insisted that she needed to see firsthand what the Lord was doing through the organization. Since she has always had a desire to work in missions, specifically in missions with orphans, she knew that God was telling her that it was time for her to go to Malawi. She enjoys working with the Passion Center because it isn't just one facet or aspect of a child's life that they seek to improve, but they actively seek to influence their entire life physically, emotionally and spiritually. She is excited to see the organization grow and flourish!
David Kirkey, Board Treasurer
Location: Central Ohio
David learned about the Passion Center through friends at Northwest Bible Church in Ohio. He made his first trip to Malawi in 2010, and has served as the Board Treasurer ever since! He enjoys working with the Passion Center because of the ministry’s daily commitment to care for orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27).